Marketers often use the terms drip programs and lead nurturing as synonyms — and a lot of the time, they really are one and the same. Both terms refer to the process of sending a series of automated emails based on a person’s behaviors or a preset time interval. In B2B marketing, we usually think of this as a way to educate and build relationships with prospective clients (leads) over time. This is absolutely a crucial part of the buyer’s journey, but limiting ourselves to this definition of drip campaigns isn’t doing us any favors.
B2B marketers can use marketing automation to deploy drip programs that go beyond the scope of traditional lead nurturing. The key is to expand your drip programs to include not just prospective customers, but your current clients and your employees as well. While these folks may not be sales leads in the traditional sense, your relationships with them are certainly worth nurturing.
Email Drip Programs for Current Clients
Don’t stop nurturing your leads after they become customers! Continually engaging your clients with useful, entertaining, and educational content is an excellent way to turn them into champions for your brand.
One way we do this at Pardot is with an onboarding drip campaign for new clients. We asked ourselves (and our clients!) what new customers would find most useful as they ramped up with marketing automation, and then we created content that would help them get started. We found that breaking the emails down into bullet points, numbered lists, and quick tips was a great way for our clients to consume the content without getting overwhelmed. Here’s a screen grab from one of our onboarding drip emails:
Read more about how we did this (and how you can too) in our case study, How to Create an Onboarding Drip Campaign.
Onboarding drips aren’t the only way to use lead nurturing with your customers. You can also create:
- Upselling and cross-selling campaigns. Take care to make sure these campaigns are well targeted and based on data you have in your marketing automation platform about your clients’ interests, behaviors, and demographics. You don’t want to send your small business clients information about enterprise-focused products that are irrelevant to them.
- Renewal campaigns. Renewal drips are a convenient, unobtrusive way to remind your customers when it’s time to renew their contracts. Get best practice tips for creating a renewal drip in our blog post 3 Lead Nurturing Campaigns You (Likely) Haven’t Tried Yet.
- Exclusive content campaigns. Offer content to your clients that they can’t get anywhere else, like webinars for their eyes only, in-depth e-books, or engaging contests with exciting prizes.
The possibilities are virtually endless!
Email Drip Programs for Employees
You can also use drip programs to equip your own employees with the knowledge they need to succeed. At Pardot, we use nurture programs to enable our sales team to become marketing automation experts. You can follow suit by nurturing your team members with educational content that empowers them to perform their jobs even better.
The great thing about internal drip programs? You probably already have most the content you need to get started; you’ll just need to repackage it in a more digestible form. For example, you can pull a “Tip of the Week” from your training manual and educational excerpts from your blog. You can even include competitors’ content to give your sales and marketing teams deeper insight into the competitive landscape.
If you’re feeling ambitious, you can take your drip program a step further and create brand new engaging content. We’ve found that our salespeople are especially receptive to video, so we include short best practice videos in our emails and use Wistia to track their success. To learn the steps we took to implement our internal enablement program, check out our case study, How to Create a Sales Enablement Drip Campaign.
Lead nurturing is one of the most important features of marketing automation because it allows marketers to build relationships and deliver a personalized experience — automatically. If you’ve mastered the art of nurturing your prospects, it’s time to take your drip campaigns to the next level by using them to educate and nurture your current clients and your own employees.
For more, download The Complete Guide to Lead Nurturing. This e-book is bursting with nurturing campaign ideas to try, plus worksheets and checklists to help you get the most out of your drip marketing strategy.
Image source: LeoLondon on Flickr