If you're struggling to convert prospects into customers with your B2B marketing, the temptation can be to push harder – aggressive copy, bolder design, more outrageous offers. However, you may find that rather than shouting louder, it's more effective to just repeat it again. And again. This is the idea behind drip marketing.
Drip marketing is ideal for B2B sales, which often can't be won over with a single pitch.
What is drip marketing?
The drip technique means arranging your marketing campaign to go after the long term conversion rather than an immediate sale. Instead of a single mailer or email that convinces a prospect to become a customer, with drip marketing, the aim of each piece of content is just to regularly remind the reader that your business is there, and that you have something to offer them.
Over time these soft sells build up a prospect's interest in your business, to the point where they're ready to become a customer. This is ideal for B2B sales, which often require more nurturing and can't be won over with a single pitch, writes marketing strategist K.C. Motamedy.
Drip marketing can be done by email, direct mail, or a combination of both. The frequency of contact will vary depending on your industry, the nature of your customers, and the relationship you've built so far. The aim is to keep your brand in their mind often enough that when they're ready to make a purchase, you're the company they turn to. However, you don't want to be too pushy and annoy them with too much attention – this can feel like spam.
Drip marketing is a good way to avoid falling into the 'sell-produce curve', marketing consultant Laura Lake argues. This is where you lurch back and forth between marketing your services and actually doing the work. For small businesses and solo entrepreneurs it's all too easy to devote your time to promotion, only to drop your marketing efforts when you get some business. Once the work is done you find yourself with no clients and no promotion on the go to find them, so you have to commit yourself to full-time marketing again.
You can keep drip marketing going even when you're busy.
With a drip technique, your B2B marketing is an ongoing process that can be maintained throughout your productive periods, helping to generate new work before your current projects run out. Because it can be automated ahead of time, drip marketing is less time-consuming than other forms of marketing. You can achieve consistent contact and brand awareness without having to put in constant effort.
How to manage an effective drip campaign
1. Plan ahead. Work out each aspect of your campaign ahead of time, says marketing expert Jean Gianfagna. Not only will this make it easier to automate the digital components of the campaign, saving you time, it will also allow you to save money on printing if you can do it all as a bulk order without any tight deadline pressures.
2. Be consistent. Make sure each piece of the campaign feels like it's coming from you. Laura Lake suggests using a slogan or call to action that is repeated on each piece of campaign material, reinforcing your brand and sales message.
3. Give customers what they want. Drip marketing is more effective if the content is personalised to the receiver, says Maria Pergolino, an inbound marketing specialist at Marketo. It also helps if they get a say in how often they receive content – for example, if a newsletter sign-up offers an option to select email frequency.
4. Limit your campaign to your target audience. Not every company will be in a position to give you business. Any material you send out to the wrong targets is a waste of effort and resources, but this is even more relevant during a drip marketing campaign, that relies on multiple pieces of material. Narrowing down your leads and identifying your target demographic mean that each drip of your campaign will be adding to someone's opinion of you, instead of just disappearing down the drain.