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Email Automation 101: Using Drip Campaigns to Engage Subscribers

Introduction

For most digital brands, email is the most important channel for engaging customers and subscribers. But sending one-off blasts alone wastes potential.

Automating personalized email sequences – aka drip campaigns – based on user actions and attributes vastly expands subscriber value.

This guide will explore beginner strategies for identifying automation opportunities and designing impactful multi-message drips. You’ll discover formats from welcome series to re-engagement flows for delivering subscribers tiered value over time.

Let’s conquer the essentials of automating email for customer retention and revenue.

Benefits of Email Sequences

Intelligently automated series provide advantages far exceeding individual messages:

Guides Further Action

Multi-message narratives lead subscribers through key journeys like onboarding, reactivation, milestone celebration etc.

Offers Variable Value

Tailor email content and timing based on attributes and behaviors to personalize value delivery.

Sends Time Sensitively

Automate sends around milestones like first purchase, renewal dates etc. when outreach has amplified impact.

Reduces Unsubscribes

Drip subscribers into relationship vs. bombarding with constant broadcasts. Lower unsubscribe rates.

Facilitates Measurement

See how messaging performs across series and optimize accordingly.

Streamlines Workload

Let automation handle repetitive broadcast allowing you to focus strategically.

Sequenced messaging maximizes value delivered to each subscriber.

Identify Automation Opportunities

Audit your business, products, and services for scenarios benefiting from automated multi-message narratives. Common options include:

Prospect Nurturing

Warm incoming leads by automatically moving them through value laden messaging guiding them to purchase.

Post Purchase Education

Follow first purchases with helpful onboarding and implementation tips guiding successful adoption.

Renewal Reminders

Prompt subscribers to renew at appropriate intervals before access ends with relevant value reminders.

Milestone Celebration

Send series celebrating meaningful milestones like anniversaries, completed projects etc.

Winback Campaigns

Attempt to re-engage dormant subscribers if they stop using products or visiting site after a period by rekindling value.

Event Promotion Follow Ups

Keep event momentum going with recap, exclusive content, special offer etc. emails.

Analyze your customer journey for segments benefiting from targeted automated narratives over time.

Map Subscriber Metadata

To personalize sequencing, capture key data on subscribers like:

  • Email open and click activity
  • Purchase history
  • Content consumption
  • Date subscribed
  • Campaign origin
  • Demographics like role, seniority etc.

This data allows customizing messaging to individual context.

Schedule Emails Thoughtfully

Carefully plan automated email timing based on use cases. Consider:

New Subscriber Cadence

Send initial welcome series at intervals like day 1, 3, 5, and 7 to make fast impression.

Post-Event Follow Up

Hit quickly the next day while event impressions are fresh then space out subsequent value delivery emails.

Pre-Renewal Nurturing

Build urgency starting 90 days out then increase frequency as renewal approaches.

Cross Time Zones

For global audiences, don’t send middle of the night. Queue sends based on recipient time zones.

Avoid Overwhelming

Balance value with overstuffing inboxes. Set minimum intervals between sends per subscriber like 7-10 days.

Test Send Days and Times

Monitor open rates by day and time slot to determine optimal delivery windows for key segments and optimize.

Match content flow and timing to subscriber scenarios for relevance that penetrates.

Compose Compelling Sequence Narratives

Well executed series tell a progression of value stories vs. isolated emails. Techniques include:

Defined Central Theme

Ensure your series revolves around a cohesive topic or narrative to maintain purpose over multiple messages.

Varying Perspectives

Approach central theme from different angles – tips, stories, stats, analysis etc. – across emails to sustain interest.

Thoughtful Handoffs

Write smooth transitions clearly passing the baton between emails to drive opens. Avoid disjointed jumps in topics.

Cliffhangers

End emails on intriguing notes that compels curiosity to find out “what’s next” ensuring the series is consumed fully.

Consistent Branding

Maintain consistent tone, visuals, offer presence etc. across series for cohesive user experience.

Finesse transitions and narrative to captivate subscribers email to email moving toward a desired outcome.

Optimize Delivery for Engagement

Fine tune technical delivery for flawless execution:

  • Ensure accurate subscriber data for personalization and timely delivery.
  • Test and confirm emails render cleanly across clients like Outlook, Gmail etc.
  • Make unsubscribes easy to find. Don’t force recipients to receive unwanted emails.
  • Mobile optimize content for smaller screens.
  • Provide helpful sender names and subject lines that intrigue without misleading.
  • Check analytics to confirm sends occurring as scheduled without gaps.

Even minor technical issues undermine great content. Meticulously verify flawless delivery.

Continuously Analyze and Optimize

Use data to identify opportunities for ongoing sequence improvements:

  • Review open and click-through rates for each email in a series. Look for drop offs.
  • A/B test versions of emails with different content, offers etc to maximize engagement.
  • Monitor unsubscribe and complaint rates. If high, assess whether poor targeting or content needs refreshing.

-Survey subscribers directly about relevance, timing, and suggestions for your key automated series.

  • Track eventual desired goal conversions driven by sequences like purchases for sequences focused on sales.

Let data guide edits and keep sequences aligned with evolving subscriber preferences.

Conclusion

One-to-many broadcast emails alone underserve subscribers by failing to deliver tiered value tailored to individual needs. But when thoughtfully choreographed, automated sequences provide incredible potential for nurturing customers based on their unique journeys.

Mastering the art of behavior-based drips takes work – planning narratives, diligent list hygiene, flawless send execution etc. But the effort pays dividends earning customer loyalty and growth.

Treat email automation as an ongoing optimization process vs one-time campaign. The inputs driving send relevance like metadata, preferences, and behaviors constantly change and improve over time as you learn subscriber rhythms.

With carefully orchestrated sequences mapped to subscriber needs, email becomes your most powerful tool for sustained engagement and satisfaction. Automation unlocks this potential.

By Dani Davis

Dani Davis is the pen name of the writer of this blog with more 15 years of constant experience in Content marketing and informatics product, e-commerce niche.

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