Reaching customers on a personal level can be easier than ever with drip marketing campaigns.
What is a drip campaign?
A drip campaign is a series of automated emails sent to potential and current customers. Each message shares information that might be useful or interesting to the audience, based on a particular topic or customer activity.
Email is a highly effective way to market to spa customers, especially the millennial generation — which is quickly becoming a target audience, according to Kristan Hart, chief operating officer of The Get Smart Group marketing agency in California.
Additionally, while recent changes to iOS phone privacy laws make it harder to target specific customers based on their browsing activity with digital advertisements, email is a great way to reach them more directly on their digital devices.
“Whoever holds the email address holds the key,” Hart says. “It is so important you have email addresses for all your customers because that’s almost a fool-proof way to market to them.”
Drip campaigns CAN build trust, save time
Drip campaigns provide more personalized customer service with less burden on sales and service staff. With modern bulk email platforms, emails can be personalized and segmented to speak to specific audiences.
“It opens the opportunity for conversation,” Hart says. “The customer feels like they are getting personalized customer service.”
Customers interested in purchasing a spa often have similar questions. Through a drip campaign, spa professionals can answer those questions before the customer even asks, which builds company credibility and earns customer trust, says Ben Poggemiller, co-owner of Urban Life Pools & Hot Tubs in Steinbach, Canada.
“It also allows you to control the sales process and creates consistency, because everyone who enters the sales pipeline is getting the same messaging and information exactly the way you want it every time,” he says.
Planning drip campaign content
Chelsea Difillo, website manager for Galaxy Home Recreation in Tulsa, Oklahoma, says education is key to a successful drip campaign.
When a potential customer registers their email address with Galaxy Home Recreation, the company follows up with a series of emails that slowly feed the client information on products, preparation, financing, discounts, purchase processes and more. It’s a way the company can proactively “overcome pain points” and answer customer questions, Difillo says.
“By the time they speak to a sales rep, they are already halfway sold,” she says.
Timing is key, especially in the beginning of a drip campaign. Once staff receive a new customer email address, they need to drop that address in the drip campaign pipeline quickly, following up with the customer right away. Hart suggests campaigns start with more frequent emails in the beginning and less as time passes. An average rate might be four to five emails the first week, one email per week the next three weeks, and one email per month after that.
The overall length of a drip campaign can vary greatly, depending on the topic. Because a spa is a large purchase, many people wait a long time before making their final decision. Therefore, Hart suggests a drip campaign for sales leads should last around two years.
“You want to stay top of mind,” she says.
No matter the length, audience or topic, Poggemiller suggests every email include a clear way for customers to move to the next step of the buying process. This can be as simple as replying to the email, filling out a form or clicking a link to talk to a sales representative.
“If they’re ready to jump the line and enter into a buying conversation, I want to make sure they have an easy way to do that,” Poggemiller says.
Setting up a drip campaign
The first step to setting up a drip campaign is to make sure customer email addresses are on file. This information is as important as the customer’s name and phone number, says Hart. Companies can obtain email addresses from potential customers in a variety of ways, including website forms; raffles; inviting those receiving paper mail to go paperless; and asking for emails from those who walk in a store expressing interest in purchasing a spa.
With a solid collection of email addresses, companies should sign up for a bulk mail platform. These online systems allow the company to creatively format emails and personalize them to the brand and customer. Platforms such as MailChimp are free up to a limited amount of contacts.
Be wary of these campaign issues
Thinking emails can replace sales staff. Hart warns that even the best drip campaigns cannot replace sales staff. Many times, drip campaign emails can actually lead to more opportunities to follow up with customers. “Successful businesses work best when sales and marketing go together,” Hart says.
Not complying with opt-out requests. Many email systems can ban companies from sending emails if that company receives too many spam complaints. Not providing a way to unsubscribe may put the company in legal jeopardy.
Content that is redundant or poor quality. “People want to know that you see them, hear them and have something of value to offer them personally, whether it’s more information or a fantastic deal,” Difillo says.
Ben Poggemiller, co-owner of Urban Life Pools & Hot Tubs in Steinbach, Canada, suggested spa professionals ask the following questions to generate content for a successful campaign.
• If I were a first-time buyer, what would I want to know?
• What would make the buying process easier for a first-time buyer?
• What kinds of decisions would a first-time buyer have to make before purchasing a spa? What kinds of resources would help them make those decisions?
• What are the 10 most common questions I get around hot tubs?
• What are 10 things people should know but don’t yet?
• What are five to 10 reasons my company or products stand out from the rest?