The marketing phrase “drip campaign” sounds so weak and wimpy.
Unfortunately, it’s often an accurate description. We’ve all been on the receiving end of what seems like a non-stop series of marketing emails from someone trying to tell or sell us something.
As part of an Inbound Marketing methodology, digital drip campaigns are initiated by a website visitor that converts on an offer for content. By their online behavior and completing a form, they have self-identified and opted-in for more information. They have now triggered a sequence of personalized emails that will be sent to them automatically as part of a direct marketing work flow.
I like that the wikipedia definition below of Drip Marketing mentions that media other than email can also be used. In my opinion, that could be strengthened to say “should be used”.
Drip marketing is a communication strategy that sends, or “drips,” a pre-written set of messages to customers or prospects over time. These messages often take the form of email marketing, although other media can also be used. Drip marketing is distinct from other database marketing in two ways: (1) the timing of the messages follow a pre-determined course; (2) the messages are dripped in a series applicable to a specific behavior or status of the recipient. It is also typically automated.
Our Atlanta B2B marketing agency is a passionate advocate of Inbound Marketing. We also know that once you have the power to personalize your marketing and messaging to qualified prospects, it pays to go beyond automated emails for all of your outreach.
Include data-driven direct mail as a powerful part of your marketing mix
Because I was in B2B marketing for many years before CRM systems and marketing automation software made inbound marketing possible, I still have an appreciation for the power of print. More specifically, I know how a well-timed and personalized direct mail message can break through the clutter and “dance on the desktop” of a high-value prospect or customer.
Don’t limit your drip campaigns to automated emails. You have the power to do more and there are more ways than ever before to make a splash with data-driven direct mail.
Here are just some of the ways we are having success with direct mail as part of our lead nurturing campaigns:
Use personalized direct mail to drive conversions and build your opt-in email list
To build our targeted audience for Inbound Marketing Day Atlanta beyond our email list of Atlanta Hubspot Users, we engaged Bennett Graphics as our direct mail partner. We had a mailing list of the top B2B marketing executives in the Atlanta and Georgia market but not an opt-in email list. We designed a personalized direct mail campaign that led recipients to a landing page for more information on the event and a digital registration landing page. And we more than doubled the size of our opt-in list for future events.
Personalized invitations to both live and virtual events
If live events are part of your marketing mix, you know how much time and expense investment is required. For industry shows or any on location event your company hosts, you have to aggregate content and plan for engagement with attendees before, during and after each event. Why limit your messaging to emails and generic announcements?
Here’s an example of how we used data-driven direct mail to attract graphic designers to a live event.
Of course there were many online and email components but the direct mail was where we made the tangible splash required to make the live event and overall campaign a success.
Digitally printed versions of eBooks and Case Studies.
You invest so much in developing digital content as part of your marketing. Why not create printed marketing collateral that can be used as trade show handouts (cheaper than a t-shirt or stress ball), leave behinds for your sales people and tangible content for credentials packets that can be mailed to qualified prospects.
Love letters, Thank-You notes and Greeting Cards.
It’s a stretch to call a personalized business message a love letter but a sales process can surely be considered a courtship. Automation is a wonderful thing but there’s no better way to add a human touch to your marketing messages than a personalized outreach from a sales or service representative from your company to an individual customer or prospect. Marketing automation can still play a role by assuring this kind of messaging is sent by the right person at the right time with the right message to the right person.
Welcome Kits, Quick-Start Guides and Referral Programs
Onboarding a new customer or following up on a high-level demo or trial program can be an event in and of itself. Why not make it more special with tangible and personalized materials? This is when you have a chance to accelerate the relationship with a successful launch and follow through.
From Dimensional Direct Mail to Post Cards
Emails are inexpensive but the open and click through rates don’t always provide the response levels and return on investment in the content you’ve developed and the cost of building your database.
For creative inspiration and examples of award winning dimensional direct mail programs there is no better place to look than the Echo Awards Winners, celebrated annually by the USPS.
Of course, highly personalized and embellished dimensional direct mail can cost anywhere from $5 to $500 each depending on what’s involved but in B2B marketing there are often recipients that deserve that kind of attention.
When economics don’t justify dimensional direct mail, personalized post cards are something to consider. The same data that drives variable messaging and imagery in your emails can drive personalization to all kinds of self-mailing postcards. From over-sized dimensions to high quality paper stocks, imagery and textures, today’s postcards are not your daddy’s postcards.
Your direct (outbound) marketing should work in tandem with your inbound marketing with a clear call-to-action and link to your deeper online content as fuel for a finely-tuned lead generation and nurturing engine.
- Segment your customer database for email and/or direct mail campaigns, build buyer persona sets, and create a/b testing processes to ensure best results and ongoing improvement.
- Collaborate with your team to create remarkable content for your direct marketing outreach that will resonate with your target audiences and encourage them to take action.
- Both emails and direct mail can work as part of a deeper digital campaign. Calls-to-action within both can lead back landing pages and designated phone numbers that are specific to a promotion rather than your website’s homepage or generic phone reception.
- A properly designed and constructed landing page can provide you with multiple opportunities for tracking results including growing your email opt-in list.
- Work with your internal team and outside vendors to create a direct marketing strategy, budget and timeline based on assigned objectives and designed to drive sales and continue improving your customer and prospect database.
- And last but not least, follow-up by analyzing your results and looking for ways to improve your efforts. You market, in many cases, to the same audience week-after-week. If you don’t refresh your strategy and your content it will soon lose it’s luster.
Direct marketing, including both email and direct mail, should be an integral component of your B2B marketing program.